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172                  HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
under his son Mohamed, who died in A.D. 1162, and was
succeeded by his son, Hasan. This somewhat extra-
ordinary man disowned his own parentage and proclaimed
himself the descendant of the Fatimid Nizar. To further
his ambitions he convened an assembly in A.H. 559
(1164) and not only proclaimed himself to be the Imam,
but announced the abrogation of the letter of the law in
favour of its allegorical meaning. It is stated that the
term Mulahida or "heretics" was given to the sect
owing to this new claim, and by this name they are still
known in Khorasan. Hasan, after ruling for some years,
was assassinated, but his son followed in his father's foot-
steps. In A.D. 1210 Jalal-u-Din succeeded to the inherit-
ance, and, completely reversing the policy of the sect,
declared himself an orthodox Moslem. He entered into
friendly relations with the Caliph Nasir and with neigh-
bouring Moslem princes and later on allied himself with the
heroic Jalal-u-Din of Khiva ; but he dreaded the power of
Chengiz Khan, to whom he despatched an embassy. In
A.D. 1220 he died suddenly, probably of poison. His suc-
cessor and the last Grand Master was a boy of nine, by name
Rukn-u-Din. In A.D. 1238 he despatched an embassy to
Europe, and we read in Matthew Paris that it was treated
coldly. An envoy visited the Court of Henry III, of
England to plead the cause of the Ismailis, but the Bishop
of Winchester probably expressed the public feeling in
the words: " Let those dogs devour each other and be
utterly wiped out and then we shall see, founded on their
ruins, the universal Catholic Church,"
The Extirpation of the Assassins, A.H. 654 (1256).
Hulagu was able to attack the Ismaili fortresses in detail,
and as the Grand Master possessed practically no field
army the sect was doomed. The storm broke first on
Khaf and Tun, which were captured, the entire population
being massacred except a few beautiful girls, Rukn-u-
Din in a fit of profound discouragement surrendered
many of his other fortresses, and finally his capital Alamut
near Kazvin and his own person, to the Mongols, who
thus eradicated the sect with the utmost ease. In
Khorasan and also in the Kerman province a few hundred